Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Time of Tea Sharing

Today's post is definitely going to have more words that photos, but I hope you'll understand why when I "share" about how I enjoyed a unique "tea sharing" yesterday!

A couple of years ago, several people in town began telling me I needed to meet Dr. John Kim, who at the time was practicing here in Coweta County. One of my co-workers actually got to meet Dr. Kim and enjoyed tea with him, and I was intrigued as I heard more about him. A few weeks ago, Dr. Kim somehow came across my blog and e-mailed an invitation for me to join him for "a tea sharing." Isn't that a lovely term: a tea sharing.

Of course I replied that I would be delighted, and so yesterday I went to Georgia Integrative Medicine in Tyrone, where he now practices. When I spoke with him on the phone to make the appointment, I realized he was a much younger man than the elderly gentleman I had somehow expected. He greeted me with a smile and said he would prepare the tea and have it ready in a moment. I sat in his well-appointed office (lots of soothing sage green colors) and couldn't help noticing a photograph on the wall of Dr. Kim with Dr. Andrew Weil. Interesting!

Soon, I was ushered into a small room where I joined Dr. Kim and his office manager, Jeanne. My tea experience has been limited to visits in mostly English-style tearooms, and I've long suspected I haven't always been sipping the very best of teas. From the first sip of a fine puerh at Dr. Kim's, I knew I was right. Tea drinkers seem to either love or hate puerh (I'm a fan), but the particular puerh we enjoyed came from an aged cake (30+ years aged, I believe he said) and it was just amazing. It had the "earthy" taste I enjoy about puerh tea, yet this tea tasted so clean and pure. (Dr. Kim has a special filtering system in place, and yes, he confirmed, the water quality *is* very important to the proper making of tea.)

After the puerh, we sampled oolong and green teas. The oolong had a natural sweetness I did not expect, and I enjoyed it very much. The final tea, a high-quality green, showed me what a really good cup of green tea should taste like. Very smooth and full-flavored, it set a new standard for green teas for me.

Because I wanted to fully experience the "tea sharing," I wasn't taking notes or treating my visit as "an assignment," but perhaps I should have. One thing I learned from Dr. Kim is that he doesn't recommend drinking green tea out of a guywan, like the one above, but he did use a simple white guywan to rinse the leaves before he made our green tea. He also says that the more experienced one becomes at making tea, the fewer utensils one will use.

It was an honor to be the guest of this fellow tea lover, and I was also pleased to learn Dr. Kim hosts tea workshops. I made sure I left my contact info so I'll know about the next one. There is always so much more to learn about tea! (If you would like to read more about his practice, go here.)


  1. What an absolutely fascinating experience! There's always something to learn from Angela...

  2. It was my pleasure to host Miss Angela. I invite any tea enthusiasts to share tea with me.

    John Kim, MD MPH

  3. What a wonderful gift indeed! It sounds like a very special afternoon that will stay with you always!

    Oolong teas, and their sweet aftertaste, are one of my all-time faves! I like PuErh, too, but must be in the proper mood.

  4. Sharing tea with Dr. Kim sounds like a lovely experience. Maybe, under those circumstances, I'd be brave enough to try some puerh tea. I have just been reading a book by Dr. Andrew Weil titled "Spontaneous Healing". Does Dr. Kim's practice feature natural and preventive medicine?

    Thanks for sharing another interesting tea tale.

  5. According to his web site, Dr. Kim's practice "integrates conventional medicine with complementary modalities of healing including acupuncture, herbs, supplements, homeopathy, nutrition, energy medicine, and physical activity." Hope that helps!


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